Buying and Selling

What does a pre-approval letter tell you?

Getting pre-approved is key to a smooth home buying experience

Couple sitting on couch smiling looking at tablet
 

A pre-approval1 letter is a letter from a lender that estimates the amount you may be able to borrow for a home loan. It’s an important first step in the home buying process because it proves to the seller you’re a qualified and serious buyer.

Tip: Some lenders offer a pre-approval estimate option, which often has fewer requirements and takes less time than the typical pre-approval process. Ask your lender if this option is available for you.

In order to issue a pre-approval, the potential lender will evaluate your credit, potential debts, employment history and income. This is why at the beginning of the process, you’re asked to gather supporting documents like proof of income, proof of assets and personal information. If you’re granted a pre-approved mortgage loan, the lender will give you a pre-approval letter, which is typically valid for 60-90 days.

Example of pre-approval letter

(Note: The layout and wording will vary from lender to lender):

 

Dear Name(s),

Congratulations! We are pleased to notify you that based on our evaluation of your credit, income, assets and other documentation you provided, you have been granted a PRE-APPROVAL. This letter provides you with the terms, which you have been qualified:

Anticipated purchase price

Loan amount

Loan program

Loan term

Total monthly mortgage payment

Interest rate

[This last part (the ‘final approval could be subject to’ section) will likely vary from lender to lender, so make sure you understand what your pre-approval is based upon.]

Contact us with any questions. 

Lender signature

 

Now, let’s break it down.

  • Anticipated purchase price: The maximum amount you may be able to borrow. Be sure to consider your own comfort level when it comes to what you can afford. A general guideline is to not  spend more than 30 percent of your gross monthly income on all housing expenses, including:
    • Homeowners insurance
    • Utilities
    • Maintenance
    • Private mortgage insurance (PMI, which you’ll only pay if you put less than 20 percent down)
    • Homeowners association (HOA) fees
  • Loan amount: The purchase price you and the seller agree upon minus the amount you plan to put down. For example, if the purchase price is $200,000 and you put 20% down (or $40,000), the loan amount would be $160,000.
  • Loan program: The type of home loan you may qualify for, for example a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
  • Loan term: The extent (or life) of the loan.
  • Total monthly mortgage payment: This should take into account principal and interest, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance (PMI) and homeowner association (HOA) fees. And don’t forget to factor in the cost of utilities and maintenance in your monthly payments.
  • Interest rate: The mortgage interest rate you may qualify for.
    • TIP: The better your credit score, the better your interest rate and the less money you could spend over the life of the loan.

The last part of the pre-approval letter will likely vary from lender to lender, so make sure you understand what your pre-approval is based upon.

Pre-approval can help set you up for a smooth home buying experience, as well as give your offer a little extra leverage and you a bit more confidence.

Get a confidence boost

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a giant step in your house hunting journey. Learn more about getting preapproved.

1 Pre-approval is based on non-verified information and is not a commitment to make you a loan by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. Loan approval will be subject to, but not limited to, verification of all income, asset and liability information provided by you, satisfactory property appraisal, compliance with SunTrust Mortgage’s loan program guidelines and all required closing conditions such as survey and title examination.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

Related

Investment and Insurance Products:

Are Not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured   Are Not Bank Guaranteed  May Lose Value 

© 2018 SunTrust Banks, Inc

equal housing logoSunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. Member FDIC

equal housing logoEqual Housing Lender. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc

SunTrust, SunTrust Mortgage, SunTrust PortfolioView, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, SunTrust Premier Program, AMC Pinnacle, AMC Premier, Access 3, Signature Advantage Brokerage, Custom Choice Loan and SunTrust SummitView are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Services provided by the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: Banking products and services are provided by SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. Trust and investment management services are provided by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company and SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited. Securities, brokerage accounts and insurance (including annuities) are offered by SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a SEC registered broker-dealer, member FINRA, SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency. Investment advisory services are offered by SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered adviser. GFO Advisory Services, LLC is a SEC registered investment adviser that provides investment advisory services to a group of private investment funds and other non-investment advisory services to affiliates. Mortgage products and services are provided by SunTrust Mortgage, Inc.

SunTrust Mortgage, Inc. - NMLS #2915, 901 Semmes Avenue, Richmond, VA 23224, 1-800-634-7928. CA: licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act, IL: Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee #MB-989, Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60601, 1-888-473-4858, MA: Mortgage Lender license #-ML-2915, NJ: Mortgage Banker License - New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, NY: Licensed Mortgage Banker—NYS Department of Financial Services, and RI: Rhode Island Licensed Lender.

"SunTrust Advisors" may be officers and/or associated persons of the following affiliates of SunTrust Banks, Inc.: SunTrust Bank, our commercial bank, which provides banking, trust and asset management services; SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, which is a member of FINRA and SIPC, and a licensed insurance agency, and which provides securities, annuities and life insurance products; SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc., a SEC registered investment adviser which provides Investment Advisory services.

SunTrust Private Wealth Management, International Wealth Management, Business Owner Specialty Group, Sports and Entertainment Group, and Legal and Medical Specialty Groups and GenSpring are marketing names used by SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Banks Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, SunTrust Delaware Trust Company, SunTrust Investment Services, Inc., and SunTrust Advisory Services, Inc.

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates do not accept fiduciary responsibility for all banking and investment account types offered. Please consult with your SunTrust representative to determine whether SunTrust and its affiliates have agreed to accept fiduciary responsibility for your account(s) and if you have completed the documentation necessary to establish a fiduciary relationship with SunTrust Bank or an affiliate. Additional information regarding account types and important disclosures may be found at www.suntrust.com/investmentinfo.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey is the trade name for the corporate and investment banking services of SunTrust Banks, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC.